Blu-Ray Review- Jodorowsky’s Dune
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Street Date: July 8th 2014
Technical Specifications: 1080P, Color, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
Runtime: 90 Minutes
The cinematic version of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel, Dune, eventually made its way into theaters from Director David Lynch in 1984. That version has been subject to controversy since it’s troubled production and release but I, for one, enjoyed Lynch’s vision for what it was, and it continues to grow on me over the years. In 1975, many years prior to Lynch’s version, Director Alejandro Jodorowsky began working on what would become the greatest movie never made, with his version of Dune.
Jodorowsky’s Dune is a documentary from Director Frank Pavich, and chronicles the step-by-step pre-production work through the eyes of Alejandro Jodorowsky. At that time, Jodorowsky had made an impact on Hollywood with his bizarre yet stylish work on films like El Topo and The Holy Mountain, and set out to film Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece with lofty ambition. Not only did he secure Pink Floyd for the soundtrack, Dan O’Bannon for the special effects, and H.R. Giger for concept design, but he convinced an oddball assortment of people including Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and David Carradine to be cast in the film. Dali was willing to act for the first and only time for no less than 100,000.00 an hour, and Welles was on board as long as his favorite restaurant’s chef would personally cater his meals on set.
If this documentary doesn’t have your attention by now, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. All joking aside, this is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and hearing Jodorowsky recount his ambition, along with his eventual stubbornness to bend to any studio suggestion, is endlessly captivating to experience. Not only do we get to hear retrospective thoughts from many of the talent involved at the time, but we also get opinions on the potential of Jodorowsky’s vision and influence from folks like Drew McWeeny (Hitfix), Nicholas Winding Refn, and more.
This is one of the most fascinating and downright delightful documentaries I have seen on the subject of film and the art of cinema, even if Jodorowsky’s dreams never truly came to fruition. Highly Recommended.
This Blu-Ray edition from Sony Pictures Classics looks great. Much of the film is brand new interview footage filmed in High Definition, and the resulting detail and colors look solid all around. Archival pictures and footage is also provided, which run from grainy to pristine, which is to be expected. The animation footage looks brilliant to boot.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track included here gets the job done, as this is mostly a dialogue piece. Dynamic range is decent, and there are some fun and trippy sound effects and musical scores to experience in the background. This isn’t necessarily going to blow anyone away, but that was never the intention. It sounds good, and serves its purpose.
Sony Pictures Classics has provided fans of Jodorowsky’s Dune with some select bonus features to accompany the High Definition release. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:
- Deleted Scenes- Several deleted scenes from the documentary are included here. You can choose to “play all” or watch them individually. Select scenes include: A Nice Killing, Costumes of Dune, Frank Herbert’s Novel, Jodorowsky and Seydoux Reunited, Jodorowsky on Dune’s length, Jodorowsky on Hollywood, Jodorowsky’s Film Philosophy, Seydoux on Dino De Laurentiis, and The Conception of Alia. Each piece is equally fascinating but reasonably left on the cutting room floor to maintain an appropriate runtime.
- Theatrical Trailer- The trailer for this captivating film runs a little over two minutes, and really gives you a good idea of the strange trip you’re in for with Jodorowsky’s Dune.
- Previews- A fun HD commercial for Sony technology and previews for the following films are included: Third Person, For No Good Reason, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Lunchbox, and Tim’s Vermeer.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray release from Sony Pictures Classics features some breathtaking cover art that includes designs from Jodorowsky’s vision of Dune. You have to appreciate that throwback font they utilized for the title as well. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a documentary synopsis, a special features listing, and select production stills. Inside the case they have included both a Blu-Ray and DVD disc copy of the film.
Alejandro Jodorowsky remains a fascinating character in the world of film, and his version of Dune would have no doubt been a visual feast for the eyes and a science fiction experience unlike any other. The man has a heart and passion for film that is unmatched, but his stubbornness to maintain complete creative control was ultimately his downfall on this project. The Blu-Ray edition from Sony Pictures looks great in High Definition, the audio quality gets the job done, and the Special Features are fun (if a bit light). Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of the best documentaries in recent years, and comes Highly Recommended.
Pete Macabre (“Film Fan” Pete)
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